This year was epic. I feel like that every year at the end of the year, but this year especially.
Although, then again, I probably say that at the end of every year, too.
It seems like every year gets better and better.
This year I went through a lot of changes. One of the biggest ones off the top of my mind is switching schools.
Back in April, my parents told me and my younger brother that they wanted us to switch schools. Although I was really upset when they first told us, it’s one of the most life-altering decisions that they’ve made for me, and in retrospect I’m incredibly grateful that they did.
I went to a small private school, and I had been planning on switching to the local public school.
My parents had already talked to people from the school about scheduling and credits and all of that fun stuff, but one night I woke up at three in the morning and it just came to me: I wanted to go to a different school.
There’s a private Christian school in the area, and although I had dismissed it as an option for a while, somehow in the middle of the night that night I realized that it was where I wanted to go. I had always felt a little uneasy switching from a small school to a big public school, especially my sophomore year of high school. Even though I had decided with my head, I really didn’t feel excited about it.
However, after I realized I wanted to go to the other school, I felt a sense of ease wash over me. I knew that I had made the right decision. I couldn’t fall asleep after waking up at three, but I was okay with that because I felt a lot better about my future.
When my mom woke up, I told her that I had changed my mind about my school, and she set up a time to go visit. Even though it was very different from my old school, I knew in my heart it would be the right place for me.
I had to go in for an interview with the principal of the school. Although I was a little nervous, it was mostly questions about myself, so it wasn’t super difficult.
My dad had waited outside of the office that day, and he noticed that there was weightlifting going on. The principal said that I was welcome to join them on Fridays and Tuesdays during the summer. My dad asked me if I would be interested, and I said heck no, and that was that. When first meeting people, I have a hard time “coming out of my shell.”
However, a week or two later my dad told my mom about the weight lifting and they decided they were going to force me to do it.
I was not excited to say the least.
I literally couldn't fathom the idea of going somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and working out.
But they forced me to go, so I went. On the way there the first time, I remember saying to my mom that they were going to think I was weird for random things like not having a water bottle, and I remember even laughing about it as I said it because I knew it wasn’t true. I was making up stories in my head, but even though I knew they weren’t true, I couldn’t help but feel like they were.
My mom already knew the teacher who would be supervising weight training, and when I walked in, he greeted me. He introduced me to a girl who was in my grade, and she was very welcoming. Later, some other girls arrived.
It took a while to get to know people’s names and longer to get to know the people themselves. However, they told me about volleyball open gyms that were happening, and I went to those. I also went to Bible studies that the teacher had at his house. I went to every possible thing that I could so that I would become familiar with the girls.
The first few times I went to weight lifting, to be fully transparent, I felt like throwing up because I was so nervous. Then I would go and actually end up having a good time.
I remember one specific time when one of the girls invited me to her birthday party. I was soooo excited because I knew this would be a great opportunity to get to know some of the people from the class.
However, we were going to be just getting back from vacation the day of the party, and it was possible that I would miss it. However, my family and I ended up driving late into the night and early into the morning so that I would be able to make it to the party. It was a lot of fun, and I met some people who are some of my great friends today.
One of the volleyball coaches supervised weight lifting sometimes, as well as the volleyball open gyms, so I felt like I got to know her even before the volleyball season started.
By the time the first day of school rolled around, I felt like I was already a part of the school. I knew most of the girls in my grade, I had already talked to most people extensively and given them rides home and played volleyball with them.
So, to make a long story short, because I did weight lifting, it made the first day of school a lot easier.
My parents forcing me to switch schools and to go to weight lifting ended up being really, REALLY good decisions.
Thanks, Mom and Dad :)
When I look back on the beginning of the year, I am ASTOUNDED by how much I’ve changed as it relates to anxiety.
I used to struggle a lot with anxiety. Although it was beginning to get better at the beginning of 2021, I wasn’t even close to where I am now. Although I still have some work to do, there are some things that I used to worry about that I simply don’t worry about anymore.
Generally, I look at the future as, yes, an unknown, but also not totally within my control. I acknowledge that I need to do my best, but I also need to learn to let go and be okay with certain things not going the way I expect them to. God knows best, and I need to learn to let go and trust in Him.
In fact, I’ve almost become too chill in some ways.
With anxiety came discipline for me, which meant I was really good at getting to bed on time and planning things and being incredibly regimented. However, I’ve become less and less of a strict planner. However, I still do a decent job of getting to bed on time and planning out important things. I’ve become much less stressed and anxious overall, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
It was one of my New Year’s resolutions last year to reduce my anxiety, and I am grateful to say that I think I’ve successfully accomplished it.
Lessons Learned From Switching Schools
1. No one is judging you as harshly as you think they are.
When I first went to weight lifting, I was terrified out of my mind because I thought that they were all going to be perfect and judging me for little things like forgetting to bring a water bottle.
Needless to say, they probably weren’t. These people have become some of my best friends, and even from the beginning they were welcoming before they even knew me.
2. Step out of your comfort zone.
Going to weight lifting was leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone. Even though I was forced to go, I’m glad that I took the risk and went to other things like volleyball and Bible study. I look back and think that it’s one of the decisions that made my life a lot easier, and I’m very grateful that I ended up doing it (again, shout out to my mom and dad).
3. Listen to your gut.
I knew that I wasn’t totally keen on going to the public school in my area. Even though my current school is further away and has fewer class options, there are a lot of things I really love about it, and my gut instinct was that it was the place I was supposed to be. I can’t even imagine if I hadn’t followed that instinct because it would have been easier not to. In retrospect, I’m incredibly grateful that my gut told me to go to my current school, and I’m glad I listened.
4. When you have a good opportunity, take it, even if it scares you.
I had the chance to go to weight lifting and volleyball and Bible study. I didn’t need to go (although my parents did force me to go to weight lifting, so I guess maybe I did), but I did go. Even if a decision is difficult, it can be really beneficial if you step out of your comfort zone, because it can lead to really good things happening.
5. Doing hard things repeatedly makes them less hard.
At first, going to weight lifting was really hard for me. I’d gone to the same small school for nine years of my life, and meeting new people just felt foreign to me. However, the more I spent time with the new people, the more familiar it felt.
21 Lessons From 2021
Last year I did a blog post titled 20 Lessons From 2020, so I thought it would only be fitting to do a post with 21 lessons from 2021.
mY nEW year's Resolutions
Okay, I’m only going to give you three for the sake of time, but these are three that are really important to me.
As I mentioned, I’ve noticed a drastic decrease in anxiety this year. However, anxiety did serve me in some ways by giving me iron discipline and making me an incredible planner and introspective person.
Although I would never wish for my anxiety back, I would definitely like to work on having more of the positive structural benefits that anxiety gave me.
1. Set more goals throughout the year.
New years isn’t the only time to set goals! If I have goals that I set for myself and remind myself of them throughout the week, it helps me to work toward them and make progress.
That’s one thing about anxiety: I was always thinking about the future, which made goal setting almost a given– it was harder to not set goals.
One important aspect of this is writing it down. If I don’t write it down, I’m MUCH less likely to do it.
2. Read three books a month.
I’ve kind of always wanted to be a person who reads a lot. However, I’ve never really put aside the time and dedication to do it.
However, I’m determined that this year I will finish three books a month.
3. Create more solid routines.
Again, anxiety helped me get into bed on time almost every night no matter where I was or what I was doing.
I’ve really loosened my restrictions on bed time, and despite that I actually get to bed at a decent time most nights. I actually would rather be flexible with bedtime so that I can do fun things that are later at night, but it does help to have discipline around bedtime.
I really like to have predictable, consistent routines because I thrive on routines. However, I think that my morning and nighttime routines could both use some more development and consistency, which I want to work on this year.
Happy New Year!
Although I think that every day is a great day for a fresh start and goal setting, the new year is a great opportunity to set some resolutions (and stick to them).
Also, go through the year and think about everything that happened (and make sure to check out my post on end-of-year reflection questions).
I remember 2020 being a great year, and I wasn’t sure if 2021 could top it, but it’s not even close. This year, I:
…and a lot more. Those are some big changes, and I really feel like so much has changed from the beginning of the year, and overall, this year vastly outdid 2020.
Be determined for this to be the best year yet.
Happy 2022 :)